Miami-Dade MLK weekend crackdown on ATV, dirt bike riders nearly doubles 2023 arrests

More than 150 people have been arrested as part of a Miami-Dade police crackdown on off-road vehicles during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, nearly doubling the number of people they arrested last year, police figures show.

The arrests came during the gathering known as “Wheels Up, Guns Down,” whicy began years ago during MLK weekend as a statement against gun violence. It’s since become an informal event for large groups of riders to swarm streets and highways while “stunting” with wheelies and other dangerous tricks in traffic.

READ MORE: Police issue warning about ‘Wheels Up, Guns Down’ — to both bike riders and drivers

Before the weekend, the Miami-Dade Police Department announced a “zero tolerance for anyone breaking traffic laws and being reckless.”

“They cause a traffic hazard whenever they are operated amongst vehicular traffic on the roadway. And they are typically operated in an unsafe manner,” said Miami-Dade County Detective Andre Martin.

By Monday night, Miami-Dade police reported there had been 169 arrests.

Martin told the Miami Herald that because drivers will ride in large packs, obstruct traffic and behave in disruptive ways, this has previously sparked disputes between riders and other motorists. all-terrain drivers, dirt bike riders and /other/ motorists. People have also been injured and died in accidents related to the event.

“Those disputes have been known to become violent,” he said.

Through Monday night, county police also had seized 26 firearms, issued 693 citations and 239 warning citations, impounded 83 vehicles, and recovered 20 stolen vehicles.

In 2023, Miami-Dade cops arrested 82 people, impounded 10 all-terrain vehicles, issued 16 citations, recovered two stolen cars and seized 15 firearms during the MLK holiday weekend, according to police.

Miami Herald staff reporter Omar Rodriguez Ortiz contributed to this report.